Written by Kristen Bell
Proper hydration is important for overall health. Without proper hydration, you become dehydrated, which means your body does not have enough water to function normally. You lose water every day when you breathe, sweat and go to the bathroom. The water content in the foods you eat and the beverages you drink combine to hydrate your body.
Consume part of the water required for proper daily hydration before your meals to control your appetite according to a study by researchers from Virginia Tech and reported at the 2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Drinking 16 oz. of water before meals three times a day over a 12-week period increased average weight loss by about 5 lbs., compared with those who did not increase water intake. Researchers could not definitively say what caused the additional weight loss but speculate it fills up the stomach making you feel fuller.
Hydration is essential to peak athletic performance. When you do not consume enough liquid or fresh fruits and vegetables to stay properly hydrated, you end up thirsty and light headed. Insufficient hydration fatigues your muscles, reduces your coordination and causes muscle cramps. While working out or playing sports, dehydration compromises the body’s ability to cool itself through sweating. This leads to heat exhaustion and in extreme cases a potentially life-threatening condition called heat stroke.
Recommended water intake: ½ ounce per pound body weight.
Example: 150 pounds = 75 ounces of water.
Sick of water? Try adding lemon, lime, mint, cucumber, or a few chunks of watermelon to your water to change up the flavor. Remember, mineral water, sparking water, decaf coffee, tea, and clear broth based soup all count toward your water intake.
What is an Electrolyte?
Many people do not fully understand the importance of electrolytes. The severe consequences that can result from an imbalance of electrolytes only confirm how vital they are to our bodies.
Electrolytes are salts that become charged molecules, called ions, when they are dissolved in a liquid. Their electrical charges and ability to conduct electricity helps the body to send electrical signals from one cell to another. The different types of electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, calcium, sulfate, magnesium and phosphate.
Electrolytes are Essential
Electrolytes maintain the electric voltage throughout your cells so that signals can pass easily. Several bodily functions are dependent on this electrical communication that electrolytes help carry. They include regulating nerve and muscle function, acidity levels and fluid levels. An imbalance of electrolytes have dire consequences
Maintaining an Electrolyte Balance
The balance of electrolytes in your body can be changed easily by sweating, vomiting and diarrhea. That is why it is important to replenish them. Electrolytes are found in a well-balanced diet that is rich in vegetables and fruit. People who exercise regularly should replace their electrolytes by drinking sports drinks that are fortified with potassium and sodium.
Electrolytes and their importance to the human body are undeniable. The body functions and systems they support are vitally extensive. It is difficult for our bodies to survive without them. But with better knowledge and understanding, we can learn to easily replace them.
How to replenish electrolytes:
NUUN – add 1 tablet to water
Beverages such as Gatorade, propel, or PowerAde during or after your workout if it is longer than 80 minutes or in hot weather.
Endurlytes capsules – take as directed
Epsom salt bath soak:
Magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt allows the minerals to soak directly into the body’s pores, instantly replenishing needed electrolytes. Use 2 cups of Epsom salt in a warm bath weekly.